Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Review: A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis by Irene Woodbury

This darkly funny novel describes Wendy Sinclair’s spin-crazy life in Las Vegas after she impulsively decides to not return to Houston following a bizarre girls’ weekend in 2005.

The confused, unhappy 45-year-old newlywed soon rents a ramshackle apartment in a building filled with misfits; wallows in a blur of spas, malls and buffets, and, ultimately, becomes a designer of cocktail waitress uniforms and an Ann-Margret impersonator in a casino show with Elvis.

She also hangs with some pretty colorful characters. Paula’s her bold, brassy glamazon BFF who’s looser than a Casino Royale slot. Maxine’s her saucy former-Tropicana-showgirl boss. Paige and Serena are two twenty-something blackjack dealers she shops, gambles, and clubs up a storm with. Major crushes on a hunky pilot and sexy former rock star are also part of the mix.

And then there are the phone fights with Roger, Wendy’s workaholic husband waiting impatiently in Houston. Their clashes are louder and more raucous than a hot craps table at Caesar’s! Does she go back to him, or does her midlife crisis become a midlife makeover?

"A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis" is such an interesting concept for a book. And what better place to have a mid-life crisis in the United States than in Sin City, Las Vegas? As Irene Woodbury described the sights of Vegas I also vividly recalled my own wild times spent there. You can tell that Irene has spent plenty of time in Vegas as she has such spot on descriptions of all the city has to offer.

The characters in the book are unique and quirky. They are full of flaws that they embrace as who they are. I found the characters of Wendy and Paula to be quite a bit self involved in the beginning of the book. However, I like that Wendy does recognize that she is unhappy and is not willing to put herself back in a situation, such as going back to her workaholic husband in Houston, until she had her head on straight and knew what she needed to do. And she ultimately discovers herself, which is what she set out to do. Of course, there is temptation along the way and ultimate decisions that have to be made. The staple for a good book!

Overall it was a really fun read and if Nevada needs someone on the board of Tourism to help get people to Las Vegas, they need to contact Irene Woodbury. Read at your own will be planning a trip to Sin City before you are half way done with this book. Or maybe it is just me. I'm already planning when I can hit up Vegas and hope to have a wild ride like Wendy.

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, Irene Woodbury’s first novel, was inspired by her love of travel writing. Between 2000 and 2006, her stories appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post, London Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Toronto Star, and Nevada and The Affluent Traveler magazines.

One of the author’s favorite destinations was Las Vegas; she always believed Sin City would be the perfect setting for a novel. In 2006, she came up with the idea for Slot, and, four-and-a-half years, and many visits later, it was finished.

Irene is convinced her book wouldn’t work nearly as well in any other city. “Las Vegas has a frenetic energy to it,” she says, “and there’s plenty of chaos and confusion to go around. Is there a better place for a midlife crisis? I don’t think so.”

The author has lived in two of the locations featured in her novel: Los Angeles, where she worked at the Los Angeles Times, IBM, and Time Magazine, and Houston, where she graduated from the University of Houston in 1993. She also got married in Houston. (Yes, like Wendy, her lead character, but Irene insists the similarities end there!) Her husband, Richard, a retired Time Magazine correspondent, edited her novel.

Since 1994, the couple have called Denver home. As for midlife crises -- his, hers, yours, mine -- Irene believes it’s a time for asking questions. “Where am I? Where have I been? Where am I going? That’s it in a nutshell,” she says. “Writing this novel has been my midlife crisis. And it’s not over yet!"

You can visit Irene at the following:
Official Website

Click on the link below to go to Irene's tour page and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Thanks for the review Michelle!

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